1. Notice your inner critic
You’re sitting at work and all of a sudden you feel pretty crap about yourself. But if we engage in a bit of detection work, how have you been communicating with yourself today? Have you called yourself stupid for forgetting your lunch? Called yourself an idiot because you didn’t have the perfect answer for your boss this morning? Or called yourself lazy for not completing all your tasks at work? The reality is, we say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t say to our worst enemy, but we see it as completely normal to rip ourselves apart. If we ask ourselves what it is actually costing us to tear ourselves apart? Is it costing you your happiness? and if so, what purpose is it actually serving. Once we become aware of our thought process, we begin to understand why we feel the way we do.
How can we challenge our inner critic?
- Be your own best friend. Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself: How would I communicate with my best friend/ spouse/ child if they felt like this?
- Find the upside. Focus on optimism and opportunities. So ask yourself: what is one thing I can learn from this? What could I do better next time? This will help you to change your viewpoint and hopefully not hit the same bump a little further down the road.
2. In the morning, write down one thing you’re grateful for.
Often, when we are low or anxious, we develop tunnel vision on the negative. This results in us feeling pretty hopeless. By challenging yourself to note what you are grateful for, you begin to notice those positives, that perhaps you didn’t notice before. By taking 5 minutes out of your morning to note this down, you would be surprised at what other hidden positives you may stumble across in your day.
3. In the evening, write down one thing you did well today
This is a variation of the habit above and combining the two of them can be extra powerful for two boosts in self-esteem a day.
Take 5 minutes at the end of your day to ask yourself this question; What is one thing that I have done well today?
Write down your answers every evening in a journal made out of paper or on your computer/smartphone. A nice extra benefit of writing it down is that after a few weeks you can read through all the answers to get a good self-esteem boost and change in perspective on days when you may need it the most.
4. Replace perfectionism with realistic standards
Daily perfectionistic tendencies are destructive. It can paralyze you from taking action because you become so afraid of not living up to an ideal standard. And as a result, you procrastinate and when you don't get the results you expect, you criticize yourself. This is a destructive cycle.
How can we break this cycle?
▪ Go for good enough. Perfection is a myth. Go for good enough, rather than perfection. Before you give yourself a task today, take 5 minutes to ask yourself 'what is achievable for me to do?' Set yourself realistic standards, and if you don't achieve them, trouble shoot what got in the way of that. Use perceived failures as first attempts at learning, at stepping stones to get to where you want to be.
5. Do one kind thing for someone each day
When you are kinder towards others you tend to treat and think of yourself in a kinder way too.
So focus on being kind in your daily life.
You can for example:
▪ Just be there and listen as you let someone vent.
▪ Hold up the door for the next person.
▪ Let someone into your lane while driving.
▪ Encourage a friend or a family member when they are uncertain or unmotivated.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.
Have a lovely week,